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Texas A&M-Kingsville celebrates new partnership with Coastal Bend Food Bank

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Texas A&M University-Kingsville celebrated a new partnership with the Coastal Bend Food Bank with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, at the university’s Javelina Care Closet, a food assistance pantry located on the university campus. With the food bank’s support, the Javelina Care Closet will be able to provide additional food support and resources for students facing issues of food insecurity.

“One of the things we say at the Coastal Bend Food Bank is that we feed with impact, and we deliver hope,” said Robert Morales Jr., Development Coordinator with the Coastal Bend Food Bank. “What this closet is going to do is, you’re going to be feeding with impact, but more importantly, you will be delivering hope.”

A survey conducted by the university in fall 2021 indicated that housing and food insecurity are significant concerns among enrolled students. According to the surveyed students, 42 percent reported eating less because they feared there was insufficient money for food.

“We know that many of our students, from a recent survey, deal with food insecurities to a much higher level than what we originally knew,” said Kirsten Compary, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students at the university. “This is a great partnership and a great time for us to better meet the needs of our students.”

The food pantry is a service that has been available on campus for students for nearly four years, Compary said in her remarks during the ceremony.

The university also revealed a new rebranding after incorporating a professional clothing closet that was previously located within the university’s Career Engagement department. Students can utilize the closet to find clothing to help prepare for interviews, internships, or student teaching.

“This is family helping family,” said Dr. Robert Vela, president of Texas A&M-Kingsville. “We are a family, and there’s no judgment. There’s no lesser value placed on someone simply because they need help.

“This is going to get bigger, it’s going to get more dynamic and we’re going to have more partners,” Vela said. “I can’t thank the Coastal Bend Food Bank enough for saying, ‘we believe in you.’ They’re our first partners, but get ready. We’re going to get other partners to come in a collaborative fashion to help this amazing effort.”

For more information about the Javelina Care Closet, visit https://www.tamuk.edu/dean/javelinaemergencyaid/JavelinaCareCloset.html.

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